These are the stories behind the iconic car logos you know



You may be familiar with these car logos, but do you know their history?

Going back and revisiting the automotive archives, here are some of the best car logos and the meaning behind their brand. From American classics to European exotics, each luxury car has a logo that recalls its heritage and the brand’s vision. Sometimes external factors like lifestyle, regional influences and even personal affairs end up playing a vital role in logo design.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the best car logos and interesting stories from their genesis.

Alfa romeo

Alfa Romeo’s Christian-inspired medieval logo

Certainly one of the most intriguing, intimidating, and oldest (born 1910) logos in luxury automotive history, the Alfa Romeo logo is a blend of medieval Christian and Italian heritage. On one side of the logo is a cross that represents Milan, where the brand was founded, and on the other half a giant snake with a man in its mouth. It is the symbol of the Visconti house, the most important family that ruled Milan between the 13th and 15th centuries. Otone Visconti, the founder of the Visconti family fought a Buckwheat knight, defeating him and, following tradition, took the symbol he wore on his shield – a serpent with a human in his mouth.


Shelby’s signature Cobra logo

In the 60s there was a sports car that cemented its name as an American icon. It was the AC Cobra. The Shelby logo is also traditionally a snake and is said to have been designed after a cobra appeared to Carroll Shelby, a runner and the designer who created the AC Cobra, in his sleep. Later, North Korean car designer John Chun redesigned the logo to look more menacing – coiled up, fangs bared. This version is the most recognized of the Shelby logos.


The astrologically inspired Abarth logo

Abarth’s story is simple but no one would have guessed it. The scorpion is a deadly creature and the astrological sign of founder Karl Alberto Abarth. For him, the creature personified distinction, power and advantage. The yellow and red shield on which it rests represents the passion and energy in the racing world.


The Maserati Trident logo

Ode to the city of Bologna in Italy, birthplace of Maserati, the symbol of the brand sports a trident. The first thing that comes to my mind is Poseidon’s trident, but it’s actually related to the Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. The founders, Alfieri Maserati and the brothers first introduced this logo in 1926 when they produced their first Tipo 26 model.


Ferrari Italian Prancing Horse Logo

Popularly known as the Prancing Horse of Italy, the Ferrari logo is actually influenced by a WWI driver, Francesco Baracca. In 1923, Enzo Ferrari, the founder, met the parents of the late Francesco after a race, where they spoke to Enzo about Francesco’s habit of painting a prancing horse on every war plane he flew, as a sign of luck and success. Enzo adopted it and it became the badge of Ferrari, undeniably one of the best and most recognized car logos of all time.

(All images: courtesy mark)

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.


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